PUBLIC Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Warren Mwambazi says he will not excuse himself from his position because people are being malicious by saying that a company he has an interest in supplied Covid materials to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).
Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti on Wednesday ruled that Mwambazi should recuse himself from presiding over the meetings if indeed he had an interest in one of the companies summoned by the committee.
But in an interview, Mwambazi wondered why he would embarrass himself by not declaring interest if indeed his company was summoned by the committee.
“The Speaker’s ruling is straightforward. If you are directly or indirectly involved with the aforesaid company, then you need to rescue yourself from the Committee and sit in to deliberate. For me as a chairperson, the issue is that the company never supplied to DMMU for starters. That is just being malicious. If I supplied, why should I embarrass myself? There are other members who have excused themselves and declared interest and I should have simply declared interest. So to that effect, those are just people being malicious,” Mwambazi said.
“For us, we are going to continue as a Committee. As a chairperson, I will ensure that the needed foresight is given to the Executive as they spend public resources. This goes to the current controlling officers as well as the former in that accountability purposes according to the Public Finance Act, even if you are former, you need to account for the time you were serving. To that effect, we do understand the procedures and standing orders. So for me that is why I never commented on this story because it was simply malicious. Why should I embarrass myself and complicate something which is straightforward?”
Mwambazi said people were spreading falsehoods because of how hard the Committee was working to ensure accountability and transparency in the utilisation of public resources.
He added that this would not deter him from carrying out his duties.
“I think for me, I think it is how hard the Committee is working to ensure that there is accountability and transparency. These issues come with the job and this is not the end. You will see much more as we keep interrogating people because we want accountability. If you have misapplied, embezzled or stolen funds, it will come to you. That is why they say thieves will keep running even if they are not being pursued. If you have got clean hands, come and explain,” said Mwambazi.
“So for me, I think this will not deter me from carrying out my duty. I will continue and even be more effective to ensure that there is accountability in this nation. Our brothers in Shang’ombo, Chipili and Masaiti can only benefit from the government if there is prudential management. The much needed delivery of services and infrastructure needs to get to our people. So we are not going to allow that as PAC. We will continue to be as effective as we can so that we foster the oversight role which we play as Public Accounts Committee to the Executive.”
Last week, Mufulira PF member of parliament Golden Mwila raised a point of order on whether Mwambazi was in order to continue chairing meetings of the committee when a company he is alleged to have an interest in has been summoned to appear before PAC in connection with the supply of COVID-19items to DMMU.